Guide to Choosing VoIP phone systems for small business
By Natalia Mraz
| 13. January 2022 |
VoiP, Phone system
By N. MrazNatalia Mraz
| 13 Jan 2022 |
VoiP, Phone system
    By N. MrazNatalia Mraz
    | 13 Jan 2022
    VoiP, Phone system

    How to Choose a VoIP Phone System for Small Business: Features to Look out For

    illustration VoIP system for small businesses MAIN

    By the end of 2025, the UK is to switch off all functionality for analog phone lines. While it means the effective shutdown of landline phones for the entire country, it has particular repercussions for businesses. 

    There are many companies in the world who have been sticking to landlines for years – despite the costs and inconveniences. They had a way to make calls, and any changes to that seemed risky. 

    Now, when the revolution in telephony systems is inevitable, a hunt for alternatives begins. And, for many reasons, VoIP is one of the best phone systems for businesses of all sizes. 

    What is a small business VoIP system?

    In short, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) system is a technology that makes it possible to make phone calls over the internet. Since it uses an existing connection instead of a complicated set of cables and devices, the entire system can be set up in a matter of minutes. And for a fraction of traditional phone lines costs. 

    Choose the perfect VoIP system for your business

    For small businesses that regularly work on a tight budget, switching to a low-cost but powerful VoIP service might be just the thing they need. That way, they can improve their productivity and cut down on their phone bills. 

    Call costs are also far lower. Based on a survey from Tech.co, small businesses that switch to VoIP can save as much as 40% on local calls and as much as 90% on overseas ones.

    With VoIP, small business owners can further take advantage of many advanced features. These include:

    • IVR menus,
    • Call queues,
    • Ring groups, 
    • Personalized messages on hold,
    • Video conferencing,
    • Analytics,
    • And many others.

    All of those features are available from the moment you install a VoIP app. With CloudTalk, for example, you have them with no extra costs. 

    But before we continue with the benefits, let’s first find out what makes VoIP calls different from analog ones.

    How do VoIP systems work?

    Analog phones rely on electrical pulses that transmit sounds through a copper wire infrastructure. On the other hand, VoIP platforms use an internet connection to make and receive calls.

    Whenever you make a call, a VoIP platform converts your voice into digital signals and compresses it into packets of data. Those packets are then sent over the internet to call the recipient’s device. Once they reach their destination, the packages are unpackaged and converted back into sound so the recipient can understand the message.

    What many small businesses are worried about, though, is the sound quality. 

    Thankfully, the times of static-heavy and hard-to-understand sentences when talking through the internet are long gone. As the time it takes a data packet to travel from one point to another happens in milliseconds, there’s virtually no difference between a VoIP call and a regular one.  

    Here, you can watch our brief video guide on VoIP technology:

    YouTube video

    What are the advantages of VoIP systems?

    Did you know that about 74% of small business employees are using mobile VoIP apps to make their business calls? As internet calling rates are much lower than through a landline or mobile, making regular international or local calls is no longer a problem even for the shoestring budgets of small companies.

    VoIP has become popular also thanks to the rise of high-speed internet connections. 

    Nowadays, the reliability of the internet has improved massively. VoIP now has enough bandwidth to handle online calls seamlessly. From enterprises to local companies and start-ups, businesses have turned to VoIP. Either to cut down on their phone bills or work comfortably from home. 

    Now, let’s take a look at specific examples of VoIP advantages.

    #1 Excellent call quality

    VoIP platforms use a combination of wideband codecs that can give you much more natural-sounding calls whilst also reducing all background noise. 

    Listening to the person on the other side of the call, you might actually feel like your client is in the next building, not on another continent. This is all thanks to the HD audio feature, also offered by Cloudtalk.

    #2 Reduced phone costs

    Implementing a VoIP solution can lower the costs of setting up a new small business by as much as 90%. There’s a couple of reasons for this. 

    The first place where companies can save a significant part of their budget is within installation costs. There’s no need to buy several pieces of hardware and ask a technician to set everything up. All that’s needed for VoIP technology to work is a stable internet connection in the building, a headset, and a router that can handle VoIP calls. 

    Cloud-based phones are pretty cost-effective for small businesses, and the savings are especially visible if you are transitioning from a traditional PBX system. Expensive add-ons,  costly compatible devices, and massive bills for international calls don’t apply when using VoIP. 

    You can use any device you wish to make the calls and call from virtually any place in the world. 

    #3 Improve productivity with caller insight analytics

    Analytic and performance tools were usually only available in enterprise-level PBX plans and came with a high price. That basically put those features out of reach for smaller businesses or start-ups. 

    VoIP platforms, meanwhile, give you access to a whole bundle of analytical tools, available right from the start. Detailed call statistics, agent performance, and customisable real-time dashboards are just a few examples of the various analytical tools you can find contained within a VoIP platform. 

    With this data, you can find out when exactly your business has “peak hours” and assign more people to work at that time. You can use it to keep an eye on your employees and reward the best-performing ones. The possibilities are almost endless.  

    #4 Make a big first impression

    No matter how big your business is, you can still make a great impression on your customers with how smooth and easy the communication is with you.  

    Thanks to some VoIP features, such as a real-time customer card, your agents have the possibility of seeing all the client’s data and previous call history before they even answer the call. Knowing who the caller is makes it far easier for reps to provide exceptional customer support.

    And how about having your own auto-attendant working 24/7? Tools like ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) can route calls to the most qualified agents. Advanced IVR (Interactive Voice Response) may answer simple questions for your customers. 

    Simply, thanks to the outlined features, you can make your business look professional and dedicated to your cause. 

    VoIP systems are transforming small business communication

    Due to the benefits of VoIP, it is not surprising that this way of making calls is taking the business world by storm.

    Especially in the small business world, thanks to the balance between the price of a VoIP phone system and its value. It’s as if VoIP platforms were made to level the playing field between local companies and enterprises. The features that used to be available only to enterprise customers with premium PBX systems are now available to small businesses and start-ups as well.  

    Top 10 Cold Calling Software Solutions

    1. CloudTalk

    Cloudtalks’ benefits

    CloudTalk is a cloud-based call center and business phone system built to maximize your customer support efforts across all channels. All you need to do is choose a number for one of the 160+ supported countries, and you can instantly start optimizing your workflows with advanced features, including IVR, click-to-call, power dialers, and more! CloudTalk also supports 35+ other powerful integrations for helpdesk, e-commerce, and CRM systems, including HubSpot and Zendesk.

    Key features

    • High-quality calls with guaranteed latency and minimal jitter
    • Smooth workflow with our Intelligent call-routing tools
    • Callback feature that redials the number until connected with the agent
    • Redirecting calls during busy hours or when outside the office
    • The call masking feature keeps your number private

    What is CloudTalk missing?

    According to some users, CloudTalk Analytics needed a refresh, which would afford our users deeper insights into the data that drives their business forward. 

    We answered the call and recently launched Analytics 2.0, a powerful new data-visualization framework that gives users in-depth reports on the day-to-day operations of their call center. Identify problem areas and apply data-driven solutions faster than you ever thought possible. 

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    CloudTalk is the perfect phone system for mid-sized companies looking to grow. Typically, it’s used in sales for outbound calls and customer service for inbound calls.

    Pricing

    2. Aircall 

    Aircall is an advanced calling solution used by 15,000+ clients. It’s designed to speed up sales processes, boost communication with prospects, and close more deals. You can automatically dial multiple candidates in a back-to-back queue and surface crucial contact information directly within the phone interface. 

    Aircall’s benefits

    Aircall excels when it comes to automation. The provider also features many useful integrations, including Intercom, Pipedrive, and Zapier. Furthermore, it offers Advanced automation tools, user-friendly apps, and reliable customer support.

    Key features

    • Automatic Call Distribution
    • Call Monitoring
    • Call Transfer
    • Call Recording 
    • Call routing

    What is Aircall missing?

    Aircall lacks some essential video-calling features. Webinar hosting and screen-sharing capabilities are severely limited on the platform, which can lead to a fair amount of frustration for users. 

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    Aircall is a calling software primarily targeted at small businesses using the phone to conduct sales and support business daily, but certainly not all of them. Think about how frequently your team uses smart dialers. You might consider looking elsewhere if they’re a core part of your day-to-day work. 

    Pricing

    3. Justcall

    Justcall is a cloud phone system that provides businesses with a seamless calling experience. It’s a VoIP solution offering advanced features and tools for managing customer communications. The company was founded in 2016 and has grown to serve over 6,000 customers globally.

    Justcall’s benefits

    • Integrates with multiple CRM and helpdesk platforms, including HubSpot, Zendesk, and Freshdesk.
    • Provides a dedicated mobile app for both iOS and Android devices.
    • It offers local phone numbers in over 95 countries and enables you to make calls anywhere worldwide.
    • It lets you track your team’s performance with real-time analytics and insights.

    Key features

    • Automatic Call Distribution: Route calls to the right agent or team based on their skill set and availability.
    • Call Recording: Keep a record of all incoming and outgoing calls.
    • Call Masking: Protect your agents’ privacy using Justcall’s masking feature, which replaces their phone numbers with a business number.
    • International Phone Numbers: Get local phone numbers in over 95 countries worldwide.
    • Conference Calls: Easily add up to 50 participants to a call with Justcall’s conference calling feature.

    What is Justcall Missing?

    Justcall doesn’t offer some of the more advanced features, such as auto-attendant, call tagging, or skill-based routing. Additionally, while it does offer some integrations with popular CRM platforms, it doesn’t offer as many as some other competitors.

    What Type of Business is It Best For?

    Justcall is best suited for small and medium-sized businesses that need a reliable phone system with advanced features. Its integrations with popular CRM and helpdesk platforms make it a great choice for sales and customer service teams.

    Pricing

    4. Ringover

    Ringover is a cloud-based phone system offering various features to enhance business communications, including call recording, IVR, and analytics. The software provides multichannel communication options, including voice, chat, and video.

    Ringover’s benefits

    • Easy to set up and use.
    • Integrations with various third-party tools.
    • 24/7 customer support.
    • Mobile application for on-the-go business management.
    • Advanced analytics and reporting tools.

    Key features

    • Call Recording: Records and stores all calls for future reference.
    • IVR System: Offers a menu of options for customers to direct their calls.
    • Real-Time Monitoring: Allows managers to monitor calls and agents in real-time.
    • Multichannel Communication: Offers voice, chat, and video options for communication.
    • Analytics and Reporting: Provides data-driven insights into call volume and agent performance.

    What is Ringover Missing?

    Ringover’s pricing plans can be expensive for small businesses, and its customer service can be slow to respond. Additionally, some users have reported issues with the software’s call quality and reliability.

    What Type of Business is it Best For?

    Ringover is a good choice for businesses of all sizes that require a multichannel communication solution with advanced analytics and reporting tools.

    Pricing

    5. 8×8

    8×8 is an evergreen telephony solution focusing on integrations and analytics. The provider is well-suited for enterprises, but lower-tier subscriptions also work for smaller organizations. There are many benefits 8×8 can offer its subscribers.

    8×8′ benefits

    First, the provider has built an Analytics system that can effectively track large-scale business processes. 8×8’s reporting system centralizes all data in a single place so managers can make their teams more organized and speed up their workflow. You’ll also get real-time reports.

    Then, we have the solution’s comprehensive integrations with software like Salesforce, Slack, Microsoft Teams, and many more. Furthermore, 8×8 users get unlimited calling to 40+ countries. 8×8 telephony software has a smart dialer, click-to-call, and call recording.

    Key features

    • Call Center Management
    • IVR
    • Contact Management
    • Analytics & Reporting
    • Call Monitoring

    What is 8×8 missing?

    If you own a business that works globally, there are a few things about 8×8 you might want to consider:

    A crucial restriction, mainly for big international companies, is that there are regional constraints on unlimited calling. Users with the basic Express plan can only use unlimited calling in the US and Canada.  

    • Office is required: You need an office where you want to call to get a number from there.
    • Geographical restrictions for SMS: You can only use the SMS feature within the US, and 8×8 does not cover costs for mobile numbers in Brazil.
    • Integrations: 8×8 doesn’t partner with telco companies so users won’t have native integration with specific solutions like WhatsApp. The tech team must set up non-native integrations.
    • Features: 8×8 lacks features like call tagging for more efficient calling processes, call masking for protecting your personal information, and API for connecting with the tools you love. Automation tools like IVR, skill-based routing, or automated callback come only with high-tier plans. You have to pay extra to get a call recording. 

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    Flexible for Any Business

    Pricing

    6. Dialpad

    Unless you’re new to the VoIP telephony market, you’ll surely have heard of Dialpad. It’s a reliable, unified telephony solution with simple built-in AI and advanced analytics. A live chat, phone hotline, and knowledge base make it a great deal for customer support teams. 

    Dialpad’s benefits

    Dialpad’s main advantages are voice intelligence and uptime between 99% and 100%. You’ll get conference video calls, sentiment analysis, voicemail transcriptions, call tracking metrics, Speech-to-Text for an automatic call recording, and much more. 

    With Dialpad, you can call the US and Canada for free from anywhere in the world. Inbound and outbound calling within your country is also free of charge. The provider has a modern, well-organized UI, plenty of training videos, and a well-built mobile application.

    Key features

    • Call Recording
    • Machine Learning
    • Call Analysis
    • Customer Scoring
    • Call Routing

    What is the Dialpad missing?

    While Dialpad offers a Power dialer, it lacks a Smart and Predictive dialer. The Power dialer feature is limited, as it only works with Salesforce. Unlike the CloudTalk app, the Dialpad app only allows users to dial phone numbers manually. 

    The Preferred agent feature only works through API. 

    Dialpad also lacks a visual flow editor for its Call flow designer. Furthermore, you can’t send SMS messages outside the US and Canada, although this feature will soon become available to UK users.

    The provider offers a limited integration stack, and Voicemail drop comes only with Dialpad Sell.

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    Any size of sales organization looking to drive agent efficiency and speed up ramp times.

    Pricing

    7. Talkdesk

    Talkdesk is a cloud-based contact center solution that enables businesses to provide customer support via phone, email, chat, and social media. It offers a range of features such as call routing, IVR, and workforce management and is used by companies of all sizes.

    Talkdesk’s benefits

    • Easy to set up and use.
    • Wide range of features and integrations.
    • 24/7 customer support.
    • Advanced analytics and reporting tools.
    • Voice and screen recording for quality assurance.

    Key features

    • Call routing: Route calls based on skills, language, and more.
    • Interactive Voice Response (IVR): Provide customers with options.
    • Workforce management: Schedule and manage agents and their tasks.
    • Real-time monitoring: Monitor calls and agents in real time.
    • Voice and screen recording: Record calls and screens for quality assurance.

    What is Talkdesk Missing?

    Talkdesk doesn’t offer conference calling or auto-attendants, which may disadvantage sales teams. Additionally, some users have reported that the platform can be slow and prone to technical issues. There’s also no free trial available. 

    What Type of Business is It Best For?

    Talkdesk is a good choice for businesses of all sizes that need a flexible and scalable contact center solution. It’s especially useful for companies that want various integrations and analytics tools.

    Pricing

    8. RingCentral

    When you think about VoIP telephony solutions, RingCentral is among the first ones that come to mind. It’s no wonder the company has been on the market for over 20 years and has built quite a reputation. 

    RingCentral’s benefits:

    RingCentral has a great variety of features and offers HD-quality voice and video. The provider is a good fit for enterprises since it provides an omnichannel experience, lead qualification tools, management, collaboration, and performance features – all in a single software.

    Key features

    • SIP Trunking
    • IVR
    • Call Recording
    • Call Routing
    • Contact Management

    What is RingCentral missing?

    Despite all the positives, RingCentral lacks many essential tools that modern businesses require. 

    Features like native sentiment analytics, Speech-to-Text transcription, smart dialers, or Skill-based routing are only included in Contact Centre Solution. The same goes for some agent management features, like monitoring.

    The Call recording tool and Toll-free numbers are only available as add-ons for an additional cost. 

    Furthermore, RingCentral’s implementation can take as much as 90 days and involves an implementation fee. 

    RingCentral UI is also not always the friendliest to work with. 

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    RingCentral MVP is a flexible cloud-based solution ideal for businesses of all sizes.

    Pricing

    9. Nextiva

    Nextiva is a big player in the VoIP market, providing services to more than 15,000 customers. Nextiva is widely regarded as user-friendly — users can start calling within minutes thanks to a simple and intuitive setup process. Furthermore, the system is hosted by Nextiva, which makes maintenance of the software Nextiva’s responsibility.

    Nextiva’s benefits:

    Nextiva offers advanced features, including conference calling, voicemail transcription, multi-level attendant, and much more. The provider also integrates with solutions like Zendesk, ConnectWise, or MS Teams.

    Nextiva’s HIPAA-compliant virtual faxing makes it a great solution for healthcare workers. Medical employees can share information without having to worry about data breaches. 

    Furthermore, 24/7 support means agents are always on hand to assist you. 

    Key features

    • Unlimited Calling
    • Video Conference Recordings
    • Mobile & Desktop Apps
    • Workflow Optimization
    • Omnichannel Communications

    What is Nextiva missing?

    Although Nextiva is a well-known VoIP solution, there are some issues you should know about when considering this provider:

    • Integrations: Nextiva is missing certain integrations, like Slack or Zapier. With Zapier, users can connect their VoIP telephony system with thousands of non-native systems. 
    • Prices: Many consider Nextiva’s prices high, especially for small businesses.

    What Type of Business Is It Best For?

    Pricing

    Businesses need a robust, secure, and reliable enterprise phone system that works across every device and has advanced features like video conferencing, mobile apps, call recording, and more.

    10. Five9

    Five9 is a cloud-based contact center solution offering various features for customer service and sales teams. These include omnichannel support, workforce optimization, reporting and analytics, and more.

    Five9’s benefits

    • Offers an all-in-one cloud contact center solution.
    • Omnichannel support for a seamless customer experience.
    • Advanced workforce optimization features for improved agent productivity.
    • Robust reporting and analytics capabilities.
    • Easily integrate with other software.

    Key features

    • Omnichannel Support: Enables interaction across all channels.
    • Workforce Optimization: Improves agent productivity and engagement.
    • Reporting and Analytics: Provide insights to improve performance.
    • Integrations: Easily connect with other software.
    • All-in-one Solution: Offers an all-in-one cloud contact center solution.

    What is Five9 Missing?

    Five9’s pricing can be higher than other contact center solutions in the market, which may make it less attractive to some businesses. Additionally, some users have reported issues with the platform’s call quality.

    What Type of Business is it Best For?

    Five9 is suitable for mid-sized and large enterprises that require an all-in-one cloud contact center solution with omnichannel support, advanced workforce optimization features, and robust reporting and analytics capabilities.

    Pricing

    Choose the best VoIP system for your small business

    YouTube video

    Since we will eventually say goodbye to analog lines for good, it might be a good time to prepare your small business for a migration to a VoIP service. It might feel like a big decision but the benefits of making calls through the internet speak for themselves. 

    Do you have trouble deciding on the best system for your needs, considering how many platforms and features are out there? Try out CloudTalk today!  Give it a try for 14 days completely free to find out why VoIP is the future of your business.